Parking fine refunds subject to ‘investigation’

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FRANKSTON Council are “reviewing documentation” to see if they will be made to pay back parking fines to motorists.

A number of councils including Kingston will be forced to refund millions to motorists after it was found their process for appeals was improper.

Frankston mayor Michael O’Reilly said “council is aware of the issue and is reviewing documentation, however at this stage is not in the position to make further comment. 

“Residents with any concerns are encouraged to contact Council who will record their details and make contact once a full investigation has been undertaken.”

Neighbouring Kingston Council confirmed they will refund over $2 million in parking fines after they discovered their process for reviewing fine appeals may have been improper.

Kingston Council had outsourced their appeal process for fines to an external agency between 2006 and 2016, a process that council now believes is in violation of the Infringements Act 2006.

When asked if council had outsourced its parking fine appeals processes at any point, Frankston Council provided a short statement that said “council brought all parking services in-house in March 2014. From 2007-2014 parking services were managed by Tenix, who operated alongside Council officers.”

Kingston mayor Georgina Oxley said  fines issued in the municipality that were unsuccessfully appealed and then paid between 2006 and 2016 would be refunded. She estimated around 20,000 fines worth around $2.3 million would be impacted.

“It is common for councils, and potentially some state agencies, to outsource the issuing of infringement tickets to an external contractor, however there have been concerns raised that the legislation may not allow external agencies to conduct appeals,” Cr Oxley said. 

“In 2016 we received advice that, although the wording of the act wasn’t clear, our processes were acceptable. We wanted to remove any confusion and since 2016 have conducted all reviews ourselves. However, we recently received updated advice and council now believes that the introduction of the act meant the final decision of the review should not have been outsourced, and that council rather than its contractor should have undertaken the review.

“For that reason, we want to be fair and transparent and therefore will be refunding appealed fines during the 10 year period.” 

First published in the Frankston Times – 11 March 2019

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